[THE INVESTOR] Netflix and YouTube are both video platforms, but that was where the similarity ended. Now, they have something else in common: K-pop acts. Eyeing a bigger slice of the Korean market, the two are putting popular acts EXO and BTS at the fore.
On May 4, Netflix’s first-ever variety show in Korea “Busted!” premiered, boasting a star-studded cast of Sehun of boy band EXO, comedian Yoo Jae-suk, actor Lee Kwang-soo and actress Park Min-young, among others.
With two episodes in, the show has received much attention and acclaim, thanks to the celebrities, as well as the series’ unique mix of genre created by star directors Cho Hyo-jin and Kim Joo-hyung, the brains behind “Running Man” and “Family Outing.”
EXO's Sehun in "Busted!" Netflix
With the show -- available in 190 countries in 25 different languages -- Netflix hopes to penetrate deeper in Korea. Despite its great popularity in the US and Europe -- boasting over 125 million paid subscribers globally -- the US streaming giant hasn’t had much luck in Korea since its entry in 2016, partly due to lack of local contents. The number of users in Korea is estimated to be around 300,000, paying the monthly subscription ranging from 9,500 won (US$8.77) to 14,500 won.
In order to strengthen its market presence, Netflix plans to create more Korean original contents, with two dramas “Love Alarm” and “Kingdom” slated to debut later this year.
YouTube, on the other hand, chose to partner with boy band sensation BTS to promote its paid subscription streaming service YouTube Red.
BTS’ documentary “BTS: Burn the Stage” went on air on March 28 via YouTube Red, featuring behind-the-scenes of the BTS’ concert tour in 20 cities over a span of 300 days.
The eight-episode series has been enjoying great popularity, with the first episode garnering more than 12 million views. The first episode is free and the rest of the show is only available for YouTube Red subscribers, which is priced at 8,700 won a month.
YouTube Red is also rolling out its first Korean drama in the second half of this year. Tentatively called “Top Management,” the drama stars singer-actor Ahn Hyo-seop of boy band One O One, Cha Eun-woo of Astro and actress Seo Eun-soo.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com)